Today our expert guest is Alain Hunkins, author of Cracking the Leadership Code: Three Secrets to Building Strong Leaders, is a sought-after speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach. Over his 20-year career, he has led over 2000 groups in 25 countries, with clients such as Walmart, CitiGroup, State Farm, Microsoft, and more.

Alain has designed and facilitated seminars on numerous leadership topics, including team-building, conflict management, communication, peak performance, engagement, and change. He also served on the faculty of Duke Corporate Education and has published over 400 articles on leadership.

Understanding why people do what they do has always driven Alain for as long as he can remember. He was raised by a single mom and his grandmother who were both holocaust survivors. Their view of the world was profoundly changed through that experience and it impacted how they raised Alain and his brother. He realized how different his life and experience at home was compared to that of school or his friends, and he was drawn to understanding people in order to make sense of his own experiences. Leadership is all about people, so this path inevitably led to Alain studying and deconstructing leadership of all types.

There are certain patterns of behavior that show up with successful and mediocre leaders. No leader intends to be mediocre — they’re just using an outdated playbook from the beginning of the industrial revolution. The difference between leaders that flounder and the ones that thrive is a shift in mindset. As Alain puts it, “Do you think that your job is to be in charge or do you see your job as to serve the people who are in your charge?”

Alain had been blogging on the topic of leadership for a few years until suddenly he had hundreds of posts. He looked back on them and started to notice the common themes, and those eventually became the chapters for his book. That book was Cracking the Leadership Code: Three Secrets to Building Strong Leaders, and those three secrets are Connection, Communication, and Collaboration:

  • Connection: Empathy is a primary leadership skill, helping people understand that you see their perspective and know how they feel. At its core, leadership is a relationship between leader and follower, and we need to take the time to cultivate that relationship.
  • Communication: The greatest challenge with communication is that we have the illusion that it has taken place. We unconsciously assume that others have the same thoughts that we do. The goal of communication is to create understanding, and a great way to do that is to ask for a receipt — that is, ask for them to repeat back what they think they heard.
  • Collaboration: As leaders, we can’t force people to be motivated. What we can instead do is create conditions or environments where motivation is more likely to occur. One simple thing we can do to help keep up energy is to give breaks during extended meetings. We need to change it up or we can’t possibly focus, even if we want to.


Leadership is constantly shifting. We need to recognize that leadership as a practice is moving on from the role of micromanaging and control and moving into the role of facilitating and helping others.


The Biggest Helping: Today’s Most Important Takeaway

“If you want to grow as a leader, find people that will give you honest feedback about how you show up. There is nothing that will accelerate your leadership growth more than honest, timely feedback from someone else. That is if you take it and act on it. Seek out feedback, because if we’re not growing we’re not advancing, and feedback is the catalyst to growth.



Thank you for joining us on The Daily Helping with Dr. Shuster. Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or Google Play to download more food for the brain, knowledge from the experts, and tools to win at life.




The Daily Helping is produced by Crate Media

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